Pakistan are bracing for another big fourth innings chase as Sri Lanka consolidated their position on day-three of the second ICC World Test Championship match at the Galle International Stadium on Tuesday.
According to information available here, by the time play was called-off due to bad light on day-three, Sri Lanka had amassed a 323-run lead with five second innings wickets still in hand. Earlier in the first Test, Pakistan had chased down a venue record 342-run target in last week’s first Test of the series which was also played at the same venue. If Pakistan fail to dislodge the last five wickets quickly today, the Babar Azam-led visitors would in all probability need to better their own record if they are to complete a 2-0 series victory.
On Tuesday, Sri Lanka were pegged back in their second innings after a 27-run opening stand between makeshift opener Niroshan Dickwella and Oshada Fernando. Naseem Shah removed Dickwella with Mohammad Rizwan taking the catch behind the stumps.
Pakistan made three more strikes in the post-lunch session with Yasir Shah dismissing Fernando (19), Mohammad Nawaz removing Kusal Mendis (15) and Salman Ali Agha dismissing Angelo Mathews (35) – Salman’s maiden Test wicket. Sri Lanka took tea at 109 for four, an overall lead of 256. Pakistan made a vital breakthrough soon after tea when Naseem removed the prolific Dinesh Chandimal for 21.
The hosts were brought back in the driver’s seat by an unbeaten 59-run sixth-wicket stand between captain Dimuth Karunaratne (27 not out) and Dhananjaya de Silva (21 not out). Karunaratne has to drop himself to number six from his usual opening position due to a back niggle which kept him in the dressing room during Pakistan’s first innings.
When stumps were drawn for the day, Sri Lanka had reached 176 for five. A total of 18 overs were left undelivered on day-three. Naseem with two for 29 in nine overs is so far Pakistan’s most successful bowler in Sri Lanka’s second innings.
Earlier, resuming their first innings at 191 for seven, Pakistan added 40 more runs before being out for 231 in 88.1 overs. Yasir Shah held firm for his 26 off 97 balls before becoming Ramesh Mendis’ fifth wicket of the innings, Yasir was the last man to go. Hasan Ali (21) and Nauman Ali (1) were the other batters to fall in the opening session of play. Mendis registered figures of 5-47 in 21.1 overs. Jayasuriya took three wickets.
SCORES IN BRIEF
SRI LANKA 378 and 176 for 5 (Mathews 35, de Silva 30*, Naseem 2-29) lead PAKISTAN 231 (Salman 62, Ramesh 5-47, Jayasuriya 3-80) by 323 runs.